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Archive for March, 2010

Kiss me, I’m Irish!

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Dallas 8 (!), San Jose 2

That was a fun game to see in person. I was looking for something to cheer me up today and that pretty much did it.

The Stars beat the Western Conference-leading San Jose Sharks, 8 to 2. Eight to two! I have to say, I did not see that coming.

Just a few disjointed points I’d like to make about the game:
• That Brandon Segal is a keeper. He’s got 5 goals, 2 assists for 7 points in 7 games with the Stars. Good on Joe Nieuwendyk for picking him up off waivers from Los Angeles. He called in to the post-game show and sounded like a cool guy.
• Two short-handed goals in the same game is something impressive.
• Mike Ribeiro is a man on fire. He is just going crazy since he came back from that scary injury. He’s got six goals in ten games since he came back.
• Brenden Morrow hasn’t been able to buy a goal lately, but he got two tonight.
• I haven’t seen the replay of Robidas’ hit that got him kicked out of the game, but it didn’t seem that bad at the time. I have no idea why the refs thought it was that serious. I’ll have to check it out when I watch the game on TiVo.
• Brad Richards had three points in the game.
• Poor Mike Modano had to miss the game (and several upcoming games) because he had an emergency appendectomy. What is going on? Is appendicitis contagious? I sincerely hope he makes it back for a few games before the end of the season. And I hope he returns next season. He’s still got plenty to offer.
• Judging from just this game, Kari Lehtonen seems like a pretty good goalie. I can only hope that it is a good indication of what he really is. He made some great saves and I think it gave the defensemen and the forwards some confidence. I think that’s a lot of what they’ve needed all this time.

It’s too late for this game to mean anything, but it was nice to see. That’s all I’m looking for these days, just an enjoyable game.

Missing the playoffs two seasons in a row is no fun, but watching your team play hockey, no matter what, IS fun. I will continue to whine and complain about how things are going, but these are still the Stars. It’s the team I love, filled with players I love, so they’re not going to be able to get rid of me.

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Dallas 3, Colorado 5

They played a pretty good game. Had a lot of shots. Didn’t give up many shots. Yet the opposition still scored five goals.

Five goals a game. That’s the theme of this whole season.

I just have two questions:

1. Why was Sutherby scratched in favor of Barch?
2. Why did Mike Modano only get 8 minutes when he was doing so well in the first?

My guess? Crawford doesn’t know what he’s doing.

There was no way that the Stars were suddenly going to win a bunch of games in a row so it’s really silly to even contemplate it. The surprise was right before the Olympics when they were only one point out of the 8th spot in the standings. That fact was not an indication of the situation. Then, coming off the Olympic break, they went back to not surprising us.

I’m not looking forward to the day Turco moves on, but I am kind of looking forward to it. I know that sounds wrong but that’s the way it is. The problem is that I don’t know what we have with Lehtonen, but I don’t see Turco straightening out.

I think we’ll be a mediocre team while Crawford is leading it. I’m gonna go watch the Coyotes.

Wait. One more thing. Jamie Benn had a great game. And so did the new kid, Brandon Segal. I’m sure Segal will be healthy scratched next game.

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Dallas 4, Washington 2 (SO)

No, it’s not a turning point. Don’t even start with that stuff.

It was fun, though. It was an extremely impressive game by Marty Turco. While I was watching it, I kept thinking how great he seemed to be playing, yet we were down by two goals. Then at the end of the second period the broadcasters pointed out that the Capitals already had fired 42 shots at him.

That’s an unusually high number of shots for a whole game. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many after two periods.

But when the third period rolled around, the Stars were still in it. They poured on the pressure and tied it up, with power play goals by Brad Richards and Trevor Daley and then James Neal scored to take the lead.

Unfortunately, Ovechkin scored to tie it up again.

Unbelievably, (or as Pierre McGuire says, unbleebly) the Stars managed to hold it together through the overtime and score a couple of shootout goals to beat the Caps. That was a very fancy zip-around from Loui Eriksson to score the shootout winner.

It was a fun and exciting game and it showed that the Stars can play and that Turco can tend goal. They allowed a ton of shots but they didn’t give up, probably because their goaltender was actually helping them instead of hindering them.

This game is not a turning point, though. There have been too many games this season where the Stars beat a team they’re not supposed to and everybody says, “See? They can still do it! We just have to keep it going!”

The problem is that they can’t keep it going. They have yet to show that they can keep anything going. There are only 17 games left in the season and they have yet to win three in a row. I can probably count on one hand the number of times they’ve won two in a row. They’re not going to leapfrog all the teams near them in the standings to get into the 8th spot.

Still, it was a great game. I enjoyed it. I hope to enjoy the next game they play. But that’s as far ahead as I’m going to plan.

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I’m listening to Marc Crawford on BaD Radio and after this and Mike Heika’s article on his current positive attitude, I think I have a way to explain it.

He thinks he has a bad team. He thinks the players aren’t very good so why get upset when they fail? “They’re trying hard,” he said. It’s not that they’re not trying, they’re just not as good as teams like Pittsburgh and St. Louis and Los Angeles.

He has no intention of adapting The System or figuring out how to win the game in front of them, even though the rest of the league can see them coming from a mile away.

He’s just biding his time until he gets a team that can win a Stanley Cup in spite of him, like he had in Colorado, 14 years ago.

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Dallas 3, Pittsburgh 6

I’m just speechless.

SEVENTEEN goals against in the last three games. Seventeen!

This is a problem with the entire team. The goaltending is not helping cover any mistakes and the defense and the forwards are making a lot of mistakes.

And Marc Crawford is doing nothing about it. The so-called system is obviously not working. Just because it’s a system doesn’t mean it can win games.

The players have no confidence. How could they? They aren’t scoring and they aren’t defending. Crawford makes no adjustments to help them. I don’t know what he’s doing.

He scratched Mark Fistric in favor of Woywitka. Fistric is the one defenseman we have right now that can actually defend! Fistric is a plus-13 and the next best plus-minus is plus-3. He actually helps defend the net. Skrastins is having a terrible run of games, yet he was out there for 20 minutes.

He insists on putting Barch on Modano’s line when Barch can’t catch a simple pass or even stay on his skates. Fabian Brunnstrom may not be the toughest guy out there, but he could take a pass and send it back without falling down.

I checked out the recap from the great Mike Heika and here’s Crawford’s assessment of the game:

“I think we elevated our game today, and we have to keep looking for improvements,” Crawford said.

I don’t think “elevated” means what he thinks it means.

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Dallas 1, St. Louis 6

Well. That was terrible.

I can’t tell what was bad about it. It all looked the same.

Marty Turco is not helping. Not helping at all.

Our goalie-of-the-future, Kari Lehtonen, had to come in and mop up. He is a large man. That’s all I’m going to take from his first appearance.

And that’s all I have to say about that awful, awful game.

Oh, wait. Jamie Benn took care of himself in a pointless fight, picked by a crybaby that doesn’t like getting hit. He adds another dimension to the greatness of his game.

That’s all I have to say.

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